Old enough to marry too young to vote

Sue Bradford is shocked that 25% of people aged 18 to 24  haven’t yet enrolled to vote.

Her answer? Reduce the voting age.

I’m not sure of the logic in this. Without addressing why young people aren’t enrolling, won’t reducing the age just increase the number of young people who don’t enrol?

Regardless of that, there is no compelling reason to reduce the voting age.

One argument for doing so is that people can marry at 16. Those who use that, forget to add that this is only permissble with parental consent.

Besides, marriage is personal. A marriage that goes wrong will have a direct impact only on the couple involved and any children they might have.

That’s sad but the damage is relatively limited, the consequences of bad government impact on us all. There are more than enough older people who are sufficiently ill-informed to impose bad governments on us without adding young people to the enfranchised.

The policies Bradford and her party, Mana, advocate might appeal to young people:

Lowering the voting age to 16 and including civics education in the school curriculum from primary school onwards.   
*Ending youth unemployment by focused Government support for  job    creation, alongside  free access to quality training and education,    including trade training programmes for young Maori (and others).    
* Abolishing discrimination in the benefit system which sees    young people 18 -24 granted less to live on than those aged 25 and over,    despite living costs being identical.   
* Working towards ensuring  that in future graduating students    enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.      

But while young people might get temporary benefit, they, and the rest of us, would have to pay the long term cost.


8 Responses to Old enough to marry too young to vote

  1. The logic is that if we can get people involved in voting while they’re still at home and in school, they’ll be more likely to be able to found, and not be doing other things.

    First vote at 18-20 means that people are first to enrol when they’re newly away from home, whether working, or studying, they’re going through (or have gone through) substantial life changes and just have other things to worry about.

    If enrolment is at 16, local enrolment people will go along to schools and speak to senior students before local and general elections and have a captive audience.

    One of the best predictors of future voting is voting in your first election. Cause or effect? Well that’s debateable, but that’s the logic.

    I would note that all of our other important civil rights apply to people of all ages. The government can’t arrest 14 year-olds for writing anti-government blog posts or letters to the editor. 8-year-olds are entitled not be tortured. The Government can’t impose a religion on 12 year-olds etc. What is it that is different about the right to democratic participation in elections that it should be denied to 16 year-olds (or 12 year olds), when the right to democratic participation through free speech, or freedom or assembly, or freedom of association is guaranteed to those same people?

  2. Andrei says:

    Easy fix only give the vote to those who are married and raising or have raised a family..

    After all these are the people who have actually invested in the future and thus have a stake in it.

  3. Andrei says:

    The Government can’t impose a religion on 12 year-olds etc.

    But they do, Graeme Edgeler, they do.

    Schools are hotbeds of indoctrination in modern secular religion, in particular greenism along with the worship of sexuality and the virtues of child sacrifice,

  4. Stuart says:

    Andrei, I don’t know what schools you’ve attended, but the school I went to didn’t attempt to indoctrinate me in any of that.

    I don’t really agree with lowering the voting age, but I completely agree with the idea behind it. Get kids invested in politics and they might believe it actually represent them. The reason most people aren’t enrolling is they don’t believe the government represents them, and they don’t really understand how it works. Have civics classes in schools, and get kids invested in politics early, and they might believe they have true representation, and that their vote actually counts.

  5. Cadwallader says:

    I tend to agree with Andrei. Have a look at some of the school newsletters which Whale Oil has posted in recent times. They read as pro-union pro-Labour manifestos. Indoctrination? The other plank being waved around class-rooms these days is the need for ecology ahead of all other sciences…bloody awful!

  6. scrubone says:

    I’ve actually heard educators proclaim quite proudly that they are socially engineering the next generation, so no, I don’t think that kids should be allowed to vote while in that environment.

  7. Stuart says:

    The Sciences need to be taught better in schools full stop, they’re worryingly maligned in New Zealand compared to some other countries.
    I’d point out that not all schools are pro-union, or pro-labour, and there is definately no consensus or conspiracy between the individual teachers as to the politics they promote, if they promote any. The school that I went to I had a rather conservative and religious principal, one secular, pro-labour and pro-union dean, and another anti-union, pro-ACT dean. I got on amicably with all of them, learnt from all of them, and formed my own political viewpoint independant of them. And I was given room to do so without ‘indoctrination’ from any of them.
    If anything, I think parental and peer political views shape kid’s politics more than or equally those held by individuals in the education system. Do we not allow people to vote if they’re still in regular contact with their parents, for fear that environment might shape their political views?

    Besides that, Scrubone – some already are voting in ‘that environment’, 18year olds and above in the education system this November will be voting. And by your logic, it would be okay for 16year old school-leavers to vote? They’ve left the school environment, and can’t have been effectively indoctrinated by it if they have decided, against most recommendation, to leave prior to finishing year 13.

  8. James Stephenson says:

    The reason so many people are disengaged and don’t vote is that everyone gets a vote, it’s free and therefore the human psyche says it has no value.

    Make it harder to have a vote and watch the perceived value and participation rate climb…ever wondered why people are so keen to vote, when lining up could cost your life?

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